Week 9. Amusement Parks and World Fairs
Week 9. “The Problem of the Twentieth Century is the Problem of the Color Line”: Jack Johnson & Segregated Entertainment
- John Kasson, Amusing the Millions: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century (New York: Hill & Wang, 1978).
- *Excerpt, Wells, Ida B., Southern Horrors (1892) and Hannah-Jones, Nikole “When Ida B. Wells Married, It Was a Page One Story” New York Times, January 23, 2017.
- * Dunbar, Paul Laurence, “We Wear the Mask” (1895) [below]
- *W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903), Excerpt “Chapter 1. Of Our Spiritual Strivings”
- Collector’s Weekly, “The Sharecropper’s Daughter Who Made Black Women Proud of Their Hair”
We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Sample Newspaper Articles on the Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries Fight of the Century
- “Who Will Wear the Heavyweight Crown-Jeff or Johnson?,” The Washington Herald (Washington, DC), 26 June 1910, Sporting Section, image 36.
- “Fighters, Ready, Resting on Eve of Greatest Ring Battle,” The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), 3 July 1910, page 47, image 47, cols.1-7.
- “To-Morrow Decides World’s Heavyweight Championship,” The Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 3 July 1910, Sporting Section, page 1, image 5.
- “Jeffries and Johnson Winding Up Their Days of Training,” New-York Tribune (New York, NY), 3 July 1910, page 8, image 8.
- “Jeffries and Johnson Ready For Fight,” The Morning Examiner (Ogden, UT), 3 July 1910, page 2, image 2, cols. 1-7.
- “Johnson Wins World’s Championship in 15th Round,” The Ogden Standard (Ogden City, UT), 4 July 1910, page 1, image 1.
- “The Big Fight By Rounds,” The Paducah Evening Sun (Paducah, KY), 4 July 1910, page 1, image 1, cols. 1-4.
- “Fighters Await Gong for Championship Battle,” The Washington Herald (Washington, DC), 4 July 1910, page 9, image 9, cols. 1-7.
- “Jeff’s Lack of Skill in Boxing Helped Johnson Win,” The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), 5 July 1910, page 17, image 17, col. 2.
- “Johnson Wins Fight in Fifteenth Round,” Palestine Daily Herald (Palestine, TX), 5 July 1910, image 5, cols.1-3.
- “His Courage as White as his Skin is Black,” The Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 5 July 1910, Sporting Section, image 5, col. 1.
Coney Island Multimedia to accompany Amusing the Million: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century
I recommend this documentary for a great overview of Coney Island history (complete with creepy carnival music throughout).
“Meet me in St. Louis, Louis Meet me at the fair Don’t tell me the lights are shining any place but there We will dance the Hoochie Coochie I will be your tootsie wootsie If you will meet in St. Louis, Louis Meet me at the fair.”
–-Judy Garland, Meet Me in St. Louis
Multimedia Related to World’s Fair History
The 1944 Judy Garland film Meet Me In St. Louis which debuted the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” chronicles a family as they anticipate the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
Disneyland Goes to the World’s Fair in New York (1964)
Weekly Assignment and Guided Reading Questions for Thursday
Select one of our guided reading questions (below) and provide your answer using evidence from either Amusing the Million or Female Spectacle.
- How do the “female spectacles” that Glenn describes compare with the performance of masculinity in Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show? In what ways did these women and Cody both perform gender, or use performance to shape popular ideas about specific aspects of American society?
- What is the key determinant of female performers’ independence and freedom in popular culture? Which new institutional practices within the theater made it possible for women to break new ground?
- Do you buy the subtitle (and the author’s argument)? Can we find the roots of modern feminism in the theater? Why or why not?
- What role does audience participation play in Vaudeville? At the World’s Fair? At Coney Island?
- How is the human body being used in popular culture in new ways at Coney Island? What revolutionary change took place?
- What inspired George C. Tilyou and what major innovation did he make to American popular culture and entertainment?